Note: Readers are not impressed with MeritAid.com. The recommend instead that people search FastWeb. For more suggestions, see this Newsweek article.

I have a friend who works in the financial aid department of a large public university. He’s passionate about helping students manage their money, both for academics and for Real Life. Several times he’s complained to me that most students don’t do enough to pursue more financial aid.

“There are so many scholarships and grants that go unclaimed every year,” he says. “Some students know this, and they spend a lot of time researching them. They do very well for themselves.” It can be difficult to find these elusive scholarships, however, without a little help. MeritAid.com is a new site designed to do just that. From the site’s About page:

As it becomes more difficult to fund a college education, what many students and parents don’t realize is that more than $11 billion in merit-based scholarships provided by colleges are available to incoming students. Most students become aware of these significant merit scholarship opportunities only after they are accepted.

That’s why we started Meritaid.com, the Web’s first comprehensive directory of merit-based scholarships from colleges. We want to make it easy for you to understand how much merit aid is available to you from colleges across the country before you apply.

In fact, many students may not even apply to certain colleges because they seem too expensive when in reality, with the help of merit aid, previously out-of-reach colleges may be affordable. These scholarships can even make some private colleges as affordable as state schools.

You can learn more by reading the merit aid FAQ and a list of 5 merit aid myths.

MeritAid.com is new, and I have not used it myself. (At nearly 40 years of age, I’m no longer interested in college scholarships!) However, it’s exactly the sort of tool I would have valued twenty years ago, when I was still in school. And remember: merit aid scholarships aren’t just for 4.0 students — they’re awarded for all sorts of achievements.

Can you recommend other good sources of financial aid information?

This article is about Education, News